Updates from Wednesday business

Auditorium of people raising their hands. A table of leaders is at the front.
Wednesday afternoon business at Annual Conference 2023. Photo by Keith Hollenberg.

Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee recommends increase

By Walt Wiltschek

The denomination’s Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee (PCBAC) on Wednesday recommended a 5.3 percent increase to the Minimum Cash Salary Table for Pastors for 2024, which delegates approved.

Outgoing PCBAC chair Deb Oskin said the committee sets “best practices for how pastors are paid and what benefits they receive.” PCBAC’s report noted a correction to the Integrated Annual Ministry Agreement and updates to the online compensation calculator tool.

PCBAC has also been part of revisions to the Guidelines for Continuing Education, adding financial responsibility and leadership as a focus area, and is taking a “serious look” at the Guidelines for Sabbath Rest, planning to bring recommendations to the 2024 Annual Conference.

New Business Item #1
Request for an Annual Conference study committee on calling denominational leadership

By Frances Townsend

The first business item processed by the 2023 Annual Conference delegates was a request brought by the Nominating Committee of Standing Committee.   It has become increasingly challenging for them to assemble the ballot of officers voted on at Annual Conference.  Too few nominations are received, many of those nominated do not agree to be considered, some offices are so time consuming or costly that volunteers for them must be retired or wealthy. Many pastors are now part time, so have less time to serve the wider church. Persons from diverse groups and younger people find it difficult to serve, or they may be overlooked. For these and more reasons, the pool of eligible, willing leaders has shrunk over the years.   Nominating Committee, struggling to fulfill their mission, suggested that a three-person Annual Conference Study Committee be formed to research the process of nominating and calling leadership and make suggestions for improving the situation.  

Standing Committee brought the suggestion to the floor as a motion, which reads, “Standing Committee recommends that Annual Conference accept the concerns of New Business #1’s ‘Request for an Annual Conference Study on Calling Denominational Leadership’ and elect three people to form the study committee. We encourage the committee to consult with current members of the Nominating Committee and others who have had experience with the nomination process.”  

After 30 minutes of table talk among the delegates and some time answering questions from the floor, it was put to a vote and the recommendation was adopted.  Nominations for possible committee members are being sought now and a ballot will be put together to name the committee before this conference is over.

New Business Item #3  
2023 Guidelines for Continuing Education

By Frances Townsend

Since 2002, ordained pastors in the Church of the Brethren have had to take part in continuing education experiences in order to maintain their ordination.  That year the Guidelines for Continuing Education paper was adopted by Annual Conference.  

The 2023 version clarifies the guidelines, adds financial responsibility and leadership as an additional focus area of study, and pro-rates the number of continuing education units needed depending on the amount of time the pastor works, so that part time pastors do not have to have as many units. The standard in the 2002 Guidelines was 5 CEU’s, representing 50 contact hours, every 5 years.  That will remain for full time ministers, but be pro-rated for part time.  These new guidelines also recommend that the Ministry Advisory Council review them every 5 years.  

This business item required a 2/3 majority vote because it is a change in polity. It was adopted.  

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